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Twilight In Delhi

It was twenty-five years ago that this novel first appeared. It has remained out of print ever since. Nevertheless, it has enjoyed a continuous reputation. The story of its publication is not without some interest. Even before I had written it a well-known firm of American publishers had written to say that if I had a novel, they would be interested in it. So, I sent it off to them. I received a very nice letter from them saying that it was beautifully written but that the scene was too far removed from American life.

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Ahmed Ali

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Ṭelliyil anti


Oxford University Press

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When I reached England in the August of 1939 with the typescript and showed it to E. M. Forster he liked and praised it and later honoured it in a preface to the Every man’s Library edition of A Passage to India by associating it with his great novel. Then the War commenced, and though the Hogarth Press had accepted it for publication, one morning came a letter from the printers along with the galley proofs saying that they were unable to print it for being subversive of law and order. There was also a note of regrets from John Lehmann who was then working with the Hogarth Press. We met over lunch, and Lehmann suggested that I should delete the chapter and passages to which the printers had taken objection. This, naturally, I could not do, for they were the historical portions dealing with the ‘Mutiny” and the basic reactions of Mir Nihal to the John Company and British rule and were, thus, fundamental to his character. However, I agreed that if Mr. Forster said so I would revise the ‘objectionable’ portions; but I felt certain in my mind that he would never consent to such a course. When the matter was referred to him, he reacted inevitably and said that the portions were essential to the book and he did not see how they could be deleted without emasculating the whole.



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